Massachusetts attorney Heather Aquafresca has been suspended for three years, effective immediately, following an Sept. 13 Florida Supreme Court after being found in contempt for failing to comply with a March 8 suspension order.
Aquafresca, of Webster, Massachusetts, had been required to notify her clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of her suspension, according to a Florida State Bar petition for contempt filed with the court. Aquafresca also was required to provide the state bar within 30 days a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of the suspension order, according to the petition.
The state supreme court issued its two-page order granting the state bar's petition and ordering Aquafresca to pay $1,250 in costs. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the court's order Oct. 30. In Florida, court orders are not final until the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of Aquafresca's suspension.
Aquafresca was admitted to the bar in Florida on Dec. 28, 2008, according to her profile at the state bar website.
Aquafresca was suspended in March following an earlier petition filed by the state bar with the court after she allegedly failed to respond to an official state bar inquiry. Aquafresca already was under suspension handed down by the high court in October 2016 following the state bar's formal complaint over allegations arising from two client matters.
In one of those client matters, Aquafresca had been accepted a civil case and a fee in March 2014, according to the formal complaint. Aquafresca allegedly took no further significant action in the case, did not respond to the client's requests for status updates or properly communicate with the client but she did request additional fees in February 2015, according to the formal complaint.
In the other client matter, Aquafresca failed to take any significant action on behalf of her client in a criminal case, for which she'd been hired in November 2013, according to the formal complaint. The following May, Aquafresca was removed by the presiding judge as her client's attorney for her "continued failure to appear," the formal complaint said.